Tuesday, August 29, 2017

COGH Tells Sakic to Pound Salt (Fake News!)

Sunday, Central  Ohio Girls' Hockey (COGH) Board Member Natalie emphatically declared that she would not trade any of her girls for Matt Duchene, the talented center of the Colorado Avalanche.  This is a real setback for General Manager Joe Sakic, and one wonders if this diminishes Duchene’s trade value at all.  The unwillingness of the Board to trade assets to an NHL franchise speaks to the core mission of the COGH, which is to support female youth hockey in the Central Ohio area. 

You have to admire the determination of the Board of the COGH, to even consider trading their skaters for Duchene (when pointedly asked about it).  In spite of lingering questions about the ability of a youth hockey organization in central Ohio to bargain with an NHL organization under the current CBA, you cannot question the potential value of the Avalanche Centerman to the Board.  At $6.5 million per year, the COGH could likely leverage significant benefits from owning his rights.

But here’s the problem.  The COGH doesn’t ACTUALLY have any players to trade in the first place.  That’s because those players are part of the four existing youth hockey leagues in the Columbus area, the Columbus Ice Hockey Club (CIHC), the Easton Youth Hockey Association (EYHA), The Columbus Chill Youth Hockey Association (CCYHA) and the Capital Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA).  The COGH is interested in supporting female youth hockey in all of those leagues, so selecting a few players to trade for Matt Duchene involves brokering a lot of deals, so we think this trade is probably not going to happen. 

However, I had the opportunity to interview Natalie at the hockey talk in August gathering at the R-Bar (@RBar_AD) and found out a lot of things I didn’t know about COGH.  For instance I found out that COGH has a goal to promote the sport of hockey to young women, and then promote ways to keep them in the game as they age.    They also play a role in introducing young girls to the sport.  In that role often find themselves assuring parents the sport is safe, compared to a sport such as gymnastics.  As in all sports there is some risk of injury, but wouldn’t you rather fall off a balance beam wearing hockey gear?

When Natalie answered the safety question, it made me wonder about the gear; hockey equipment can be pricey at times.  So I asked her if they ever help girls starting out with their equipment needs.  Besides dipping into her personal stash of accumulated gear, if there is a significant need, COGH will instead work with the Columbus Ice Hockey Club (CIHC).  CIHC has a mission of promoting diversity in the sport of hockey, and are in a position to help with the more significant needs. 

So here I found myself at an R-Bar event finding out more about youth hockey in our fair City, and I was really enjoying the discussion.  So I asked Natalie what their skaters thought of the Columbus Blue Jackets.   She replied that at the ages they are dealing with (3 and a half and up), they love the games, they love the arena and the love the events.  They are not quite there in terms of player identification yet. 

So at the end of the day, Natalie said, COGH is just a group of people advocating for all of the girls in hockey.  I felt this to be a very worthwhile endeavor, so I asked Natalie how people could help their organization the most.  She replied that things that would help them the most would be to attend events and share information about the organization and its events.  Since COGH just received its 501(c )(3) nonprofit status, they hope to be able to participate in a 50-50 raffle at a Jackets game in the future. 

Hockey is growing for all ages in the City of Columbus.  Organizations such as COGH help to ensure that all of our children are able to play hockey if they want to play.  It’s part of what makes our City great!